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The original Mambi or Mambises were peasant rebels who fought alongside the Rough Riders and Buffalo Soldiers for Cuba’s independence from Spain during the Cuba War of Independence 1895-1898. These freedom fighters, who often went into battle with only a machete or an old rifle, they used guerilla tactics against superior Spanish forces. Inspired by the ideals of Jose Marti and the indomitable fighting spirit of General Antonio Maceo, the greatest Mambi of them all, many Cuban, Italian and American volunteers from Ybor City and West Tampa joined the Mambi in their struggle for Cuban independence. The cigar workers of Tampa Bay were so active in their support of the Cuban independence movement that one Spanish general called Tampa, "the very heart of the American conspiracy". In 1998, to help generate interest and re-ignite membership in El Circulo Cubano, (The Cuban Club), Dr. Paul Dosal, along with several others founded Sociedad de Mambi, known today as The Krewe of Mambi.

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